4.2_ METARs and TAFs

Let’s check out a METAR:

METAR (or SPECI for Special Report) KPIT 201955Z (Auto for Automated observation) (COR for correction to observation) 22015G25KT 3/4SM R28R/2600FT TSRA OVC010CB 18/16 A2992 RMK SLP013 T01760158

To help remember the sequence, think of 3W’s at the beginning - WHERE, WHEN, AND WIND.

METAR KPIT 201955Z 22015G25KT

Where

KPIT is the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) station identifier.

When

201955Z is the 20th day of the month.
201955Z at 1955Z time.

Wind

22015G25KT is reported as the 3 digit true direction to the nearest 10 degrees. (Note: ATC towers, Automated Terminal Information Systems (ATIS) and airport advisory service report wind as magnetic.)

22015G25KT next is the 2 or 3 digit wind speed.

22015G25KT a “G” comes next if the wind is gusting.

22015G25KT followed by the 2 or 3 digit maximum speed and units knots (KT)

22015KT 180V260 When wind direction varies 60 degrees or more and wind is greater than 6 KT

VBR Used when wind direction is variable and speed is less than or equal to 6 KT

RMK Peak wind is one element reported in the remarks section whenever the maximum instantaneous speed is greater than 25KT. 22030/15 means a maximum instantaneous wind of 30 KT occurred 15 minutes past the hour from 220 degrees. PK WND 22030/15

Visibility

In North America:
3/4SM meaning _ visibility in statue miles. Miles and fractions are also reported.
(E.G., 2 _ for 2 and _ statute miles visibility

In the rest of the world:
2000 meaning _ visibility in meters.

R28R/2600FT Means runway visual range (RVR). Signifies that the runway visual range for runway 28 Right is 2600 feet. The format is R(XXX) Runway designator including (L)eft (C)enter or (R)ight / (XXXX) 4 digit visibility in feet.

Some coding pilots may also see for Runway Visual Range (RVR) include:
M Indicates that RVR is less than lowest reportable sensor value (E.G., M0600FT)
P Indicates that RVR is greater than higest reportable sensor value (E.G., P6000FT)
V Variable if the RVR is variable between 2000 and 4000 feet for runway 6L: (R06L/2000V4000FT) May contain up to four RVR reports.

SIGNIFICANT PRESENT WEATHER

TSRA: Thunderstorm/Moderate Rain Format is a two character descriptor (E.G., TS, SH, DR) sometimes followed by a two character weather phenomenon (E.G.,RA SN, FG) (See abbreviations Section)

Intensity or proximity of weather phenomenon

“-“ Light
“+” Heavy
“no sign” Moderate
“VC” In the vicinity

Clouds

OVC10CB Specifies cloud amount, height, and type. Overcast clouds are present at 1000 feet consisting of cumulonimbus clouds

Cloud height is reported in hundreds of feet. When clouds are composed of towering cumulus or cumulonimbus TCU or CB will follow cloud height.

The clouds are categorized based on eights (octas) of the sky:

SKC Sky Clear
FEW >0-2 octas
SCT 3-4 octas
BKN 5-7 octas
OVC 8 octas

VV may be listed here for indefinite ceiling such as “VV004” for Vertical Visibility 400 feet

18/16 Temperature/Dew Point listed in degrees Celsius. When temperatures are below zero degrees Celsius, they are preceded by “M” for Minus (E.G., 10/M06 for temperature 10 degrees C, dew point Minus 6 degrees C)

Pressure

In North America:
A2992 Altimerter Setting “A” indicates pressure setting in inches of mecury for United States. Consists of 4 digits: inches and hundreds (E.G., 29.29” of HG)

In Europe and the rest of the world:
Q1013 QNH indicates pressure setting in millibars.

RMK SLP013 T01760158

RMK SLP013 T01760158. Remarks come last.

RMK SLP013 T01760158. Selected station will contain SLP for Sea Level Pressure reported as the last three digits in hectoPascals (Milibars) to the nearest tenth (E.G., 1001.3 is reported as SLP013

RMK SLP013 T01760158. Also, at selected stations, the 9 character code (T01760158) breaks down the temperature and dew point to the neaest 1/10th of a degree Celsius. The “T” stands for temperature and the “0” means positive temperature. A “1” in place of the “0” stands for negative temperature. At selected stations, other temperature codes, such as 10142, 20012, or 4011230084, may appear to document temperatures not related to aviation.

4.2.1_ Abbreviations

Descriptors

BC Patches
BL Blowing
DR Low Drifting
FZ Supercooled/Freezing
MI Shallow
PR Partial
SH Showers
TS Thunderstorms

CAVOK No clouds below 5000 ft AND the visibility is greater than 10 km AND there is no fog, precipitation or snow
SKC Sky clear (No cloud layers observed)

Weather Phenomena


BR Mist
DS Dust Storms
DU Widespread Dust
DZ Drizzle
FC Funnel Cloud
+FC Tornado/Water Spout
FG Fog
FU Smoke
GR Hail
GS Small Hail/Snow Pellets
HZ Haze
IC Ice Crystals
PE Ice Pellets
PO Dust/Sand Whirls
PY Spray
RA Rain
SA Sand
SG Snow Grains
SN Snow
SQ Squall
SS Sandstorm
UP Unknown Precipitation
VA Volcanic Ash

Cloud Types

Ci Cirrus
CS Cirrostratus
CC Cirrocumulus
AS Altostratus
AC Altocumulus
ACC Altocumulus castellanus
NS Nimbostratus
ST Stratus
SF Stratus Fractus
SC Stratocumulus
CC Cumulus
CF Cumulus Fractus
CB Cumulonimbus (sometimes mentioned direcly beside cloud observation)
TCU Towering Cumulus (sometimes mentioned direcly beside cloud observation)

Intensity Values

+ Heavy
No Sign Moderate
- Light

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